Thursday, October 27 2016


Poet faces plagiarism controversy

Update: October, 24/2015 - 09:14
Wrongful writer: A cover of Seo Doc Lap (Scars for Independence), which contains a poem that writer Phan Huyen Thu pirated from poet Phan Ngoc Thuong Doan. — Photo
HA NOI (VNS) — Poet Phan Huyen Thu has been stripped of her award granted for a poetry book Seo Doc Lap (Scars for Independence) due to a controversy about plagiarism.

Nha Nam Culture and Communications Company announced on Thursday that it will withdraw the book from circulation.

The book was printed last year. Recently, it received the annual award from the Ha Noi Writers' Association for best verse of the year. Critic Pham Xuan Nguyen, chairman of the association, remarked that the collection expressed a fresh poetic ideology on personalities.

After receiving the award, the book became famous. Journalist Ha Quang Minh found that Bach Lo (Dawn), a poem in the book, sounded very similar to Buoi Sang (Morning) by poet Phan Ngoc Thuong Doan, who currently works in HCM City, and is a member of the city Writers' Association. He immediately contacted Doan and asked her about the doubt.

Doan read Thu's poem and felt shocked when she realised that most sentences and words in Thu's poem are similar to hers.

"The poem was written in 2000 in an early morning when I was waiting for my friend," Doan said.

"It was sticking to my love, memory and friend that I respect. It's my personal creation. I don't believe that someone else can have the same feeling and write the same poem. Our stories can't be coincidental."

Musician Phu Quang expressed his interest in Doan's poem so he set it in music and released the song one year later.

Doan officially published the poem in her book Dem Cat (Counting the Sand) in 2003.

Meanwhile, poet Thu said she wrote the poem Bach Lo in 1996 and sent it to her friends to publish abroad. However, she couldn't provide any proof.

Readers and writers asked relevant authors and associations to clarify the matter about who's the plagiariser.

Writer Nguyen Van Tho, author of the novel Quyen, which was adopted to become a movie and hit cinemas recently, is among writers raising his voice about the issue.

"I love literature and respect it," he said. "I think all writers have a responsibility to protect literature's transparency. I believe that the good, the truth will win."

On Thursday Thu sent a letter to Doan, in which she confessed that her poem was born after Doan's. She apologised and promised that she will sever ties with the poem Bach Lo and will never publish it under her name.

Thu also offered an apology to the readers she disappointed.

"It's a big lesson in my life and career," she said. "I hope that both I and Doan can overcome the shock and continue writing in the future."

Poet Nguyen Viet Chien, from the Ha Noi Writers' Association and a judge of the association's award, said like many other writers and poets, he was saddened by the matter.

To write good works, the authors must love and respect literature, he said, and they learn to respect other works at the same time because each writing contains personal creativity, feeling and opinion.

"When a writer violates another's copyright, they make readers doubt their talent and personality, doubt all efforts during their career," he said. — VNS

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